Privacy campaigners, including NO2ID, Liberty and 38 Degrees, have welcomed reports that the proposed Communications Data Bill is to be killed off.
Under the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, Whitehall would have been able to force internet service providers (ISPs) to retain vast amounts of information about everyone’s web browsing, email, gaming and chat sessions and hand it over to officialdom without a warrant. ‘Black Boxes’ would also have been installed across the internet to funnel communications data into government databases.
Earlier this week, a group of renowned security experts wrote to the Prime Minister, condemning the proposals as ‘naive’ and ‘technically inept’, saying they would ‘hinder innovation and…undermine the privacy of citizens’.
This morning, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, speaking on LBC, announced that the Communications Data Bill is dead.
Mr Clegg said, “What people dub the Snooper’s Charter, that’s not going to happen – certainly not with Lib Dems in government.”
NO2ID, the campaign against the Database State, welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement, saying, “We’re delighted that Nick Clegg has unambiguously condemned this unworkable scheme.”
“The Snooper’s Charter would have been a threat to the privacy and security of honest citizens, but ineffective against its intended targets.”
“The £1.8 billion the Home Office wanted to spend on this white elephant will be better spent on more police officers, improving our police forces’ computer forensic skills, and on international collaboration to tackle cybercrime.”
“Home Office mandarins have repeatedly tried to push through these dangerous proposals for over five years. I have no doubt they will try again, and we will remain vigilant – but today, we’re celebrating.”
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “These plans would have seen the mass storage and collection of information about the web habits of the whole country – turning us into a nation of suspects, rather than citizens.
“Details of every text, email and call made – along with the addresses of every website visited – would have been stored for future possible access by the Government.
“Credit must go to everyone in Westminster and beyond who had the imagination and courage to block these terrifying proposals.”